Nine-Year-Old (Almost) Penalized for Reading Too Many Books?! WHAT?!?

Wow. Give that librarian a smack up the back of the head.

My sister was telling me about a neighbour’s daughter who had participated in some important efforts in her school – citizenship-type stuff. She’d worked her butt off and had excelled, for which she was awarded a certificate of achievement. BUT the school decided that, instead of awarding prizes on the stage at graduation, they would make the awards privately and quietly to the winners. This was so the kids who didn’t win – that is, didn’t work as hard – wouldn’t “feel bad”.

The daughter’s reaction to this was, “Well, I guess I won’t be working at this next year. Why should I? I didn’t get any recognition.”

Failing to reward excellence because it might make others feel bad is a crock!

Thanks for sharing that story, Angela!

Elizabeth Creith


Hello Angela,

I’m with you on giving the deserving child the prize for his great efforts.

Carolyn R. Wilker
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Just read your headline article and it really struck a nerve with me!! I read all of the comments as well and I think I will share this article on Facebook!!

I, too, was a voracious reader at that age! I won every single book reading contest that came along. Then, in eighth grade, I had to write a book report on the sun. I read half a dozen books, and the encyclopedia, and wrote my report for which I received an ‘F’! I was stunned! I cried all the way home. I had worked so hard and studied the subject and I thought I had done a good job – I couldn’t understand why I failed the report. My mother contacted the teacher who told her she did not believe I had written the report myself. Of course, my mother explained to her that I did write every single word, that I read numerous books and studied hard. In the end, she changed my grade to an A-. Not a straight A, but an A minus!!

She was one of those teachers/adults who was not able to see the potential in her kids. She was a hard liner who believed that children can only accomplish so much in a certain time frame and that if they should exceed, they must be cheating. At least Tyler is getting some clear appreciation for his accomplishments and some well-deserved attention.

I do feel sorry for the librarian. She probably wants the other children to succeed, yet she doesn’t understand how to motivate them into trying harder. Just because they do not have the ability that Tyler shows doesn’t mean they are less, it just means they aren’t at his level. And, even if they do have the ability, it is the children who have chosen not to fully engage.

Anyway, just wanted to share that with you…I can read a book a day easy – even now. I just don’t have time! I’ve stayed up all day and all night with a good book…then hating it when I’ve finished it…I want it to continue!!

Best Regards,
Susan Kaplan-Williams